- Spain Trip Reviews
- Exploring Castille
KimKim Exceeds all Expectations
Dec 25 - Jan 3, 2023
We admittedly were nervous entering our first experience with KimKim, not knowing whether the scheduled drivers and guides actually show up, what would the tours really be like, what about the hotels, would the restaurant reservations actually be reserved? Not to worry! Everything went exactly as scheduled, all drivers and guides were exceptional, the hotels were great (one spectacular), and the food astounding., and Marta was there every step of the way. The overall experience could not be... read more
We admittedly were nervous entering our first experience with KimKim, not knowing whether the scheduled drivers and guides actually show up, what would the tours really be like, what about the hotels, would the restaurant reservations actually be reserved? Not to worry! Everything went exactly as scheduled, all drivers and guides were exceptional, the hotels were great (one spectacular), and the food astounding., and Marta was there every step of the way. The overall experience could not be better. PS: We want especially to thank Marta for somehow getting us a New Year's eve reservation at José María after we had failed. It was a truly spectacular culinary experience. Marta is remarkable! Thank you.
This is a very small, boutique hotel is a perfect location related to the historic heart of Salamanca. The service was personalized and exceptional. The rooms were beautiful and well-appointed. We were greeted with champaign and some special treat every night. This is one of the best hotels we have experienced anywhere we have travelled. We cannot recommend it too highly.
Perfectly located right next to the Cathedral in the heart of the old city. Nothing fancy, but very pleasant.
We initially thought that the hotel was badly placed, outside the walls of the old city. It turned out to be a perfect location to follow the Roman aqueduct into town. For those with cars, it actually has a parking lot, which you will not find in the city center.
Much higher quality, more pleasant and less generic than your average airport hotel.
This was the highpoint of our two weeks in Iberia. Coming from California wine country, BUT already hooked on Duoro red wines, we were not prepared for the steep hillsides and rugged beauty of the river. Second, the specific driver, Rui, was remarkable: Personable, knowledgeable, and responsive. He specifically approved of the choice of Quintos de S. Tiago in Mesâo Frio, which on the outside is a dump that no-one would pull off and visit on their own--burned out buildings, junky driveway, humblest of houses. But, upon entering the house through an open-hearth kitchen, we knew we were in for something special. The food, the wine, the atmosphere, and the host made this the Quinta an unforgettable experience. Keep using Rui and this particular Quinta.
Our guide met us in a timely manner at the hotel and walked us through the University and Cathedral and associated areas. She was delightful, but overly detailed about things that interested her and not necessarily sensitive to whether or not it interested us. She was particularly absorbed with esoteric marginalia about the university. Eventually, after the tour was 30 minutes longer than scheduled, we (gently, I hope) asked her if we could have the opportunity to explore on our own.
With certificates in tourism and theology, our guide provided the perfect introduction to Avila and its two saints--Teresa and Juan de la Cruz. He quickly picked up our interest in them and shaped the tour and his message to our interests. For instance, at the chapel built in the room where Teresa probably was born, he emphasized the holiness of the space, not the art of the chapel, and he asked if we wanted some time just to sit in prayer and contemplation; we did. He also recommended the monastery where Teresa had trained and lived, and we found it to be a deeply moving experience. I was in the museum business for 40 years, and I deeply appreciated the simple presentations, the unprotected access to the "things," and the freedom to explore on our own time. Our guide reflected that receptive and trusting attitude and helped us discover meaning and treasures beyond the formal tour.
This was the most traditional tour of the trip. The handed us ear plugs, spoke into a microphone, and largely led with her back to us. She would have fit as a tour guide in San Francisco. At the same time, she provided a marvelous orientation to the city, not too detailed, but with enough off the wall items--like the first book published in Spanish--to make it fascinating. A special commendation: When she informed us that the Cathedral was closed New Year's Eve (the day of our tour) and New Year's Day, we noted that January 1st was a Sunday, she called a friend to check on service times, which we attended the next day. That is the kind of personal responsiveness you would seldom receive on a tour in the United States. She also helped us plan our walking for the next day. We are grateful for her tour and assistance.
Hi David, I am in awe after reading your review. It was a true pleasure to be your specialist and an introduction to Kimkim for all of you. I am very happy to hear you enjoyed the journey, from Portugal through Castille and Madrid. Your feedback will help us continue creating unique trips for future travelers. If you need help with future endeavors in Portugal or Spain, you have my contact. Warmest regards, Marta